I approached this film in two minds. On the one hand, being a fan of musicals, opera and the like, I expected to love it. On the other hand, and the reason I've never seen it on stage; I thought it would be too emotional to bear.
For those unfamiliar, this is the story of a few intertwining lives in the middle of the French Revolution. It is not the setting for a Sandra Bullock or even a Woody Allen rom-com.
The film surprised me. Yes, it was sad, and yes, it was dramatic. But it for the most part avoided unnecessary emotion and conveyed in an unexpectedly truthful manner the horrors of a country in the midst of a long fought revolution. Through the story of a few men and women, we were made aware of a whole countries' plight.
In fact the film won me over in the first scene. A huge warship is being pulled inch by inch into dock by a chain-gang of hundreds. It's grey, it's cold, it is not prettified for our viewing pleasure. It's darn convincing and it's pretty moving. The movie continues in similar vein.
Another doubt I'd heard numerous times expressed was of the singing capabilities of the Hollywood cast. I can happily quash these, the whole cast does a tremendous job of conveying their characters and a very decent job of singing their lines.
As I'm sure you'll know, in a groundbreaking move by the film-makers, the songs for the film were all shot as the actors acted, rather than sung over the top. It gives the film a realness and an immediacy that is fresh, vivid and totally engaging.
Anne Hathaway and Eddie Redmayne, fully blew me away with their performances. Anne was raw, gripping and brilliant and deserved her Golden Globe. Eddie sang with such power and emotion it was impossible not to be stirred and want to join the cause.
Overall, I would recommend rushing to your nearest cinema to see it while its still out. This is an epic film and deserves a silver screen.
Let me know what you think if you do go and see it.